SAN MARCOS, TEXAS -- G.J. Kinne had promised a lot of things when he took the Texas State job, lighting up the scoreboard was just one of them.
In Kinne’s debut home-opener game, Texas State (2-1) played host to Jackson State (2-2) who had formerly been coached by now Colorado head coach and NFL Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders.
When Kinne took the job, he said he was always known that if the right person was in the big chair, watch out. That’s what the late-night beatdown proved. Texas State spoon-fed a win to a fanbase that had been largely starving for any semblance of success on the field in the FBS era.
Walking down Tailgate Central, for the “Cat Walk” sporting a Cowboys hat, Kinne seemed in his element and his team, present for the task at hand.
TJ Finley Is That Guy: When TJ Finley signed to Texas State there were a number of questions. Mostly coming from scorned Auburn or LSU fans who sang warnings about the 6-foot-7 gunslinger.
He silenced some of those doubters in the week one win over Baylor (1-2) and said you can never really end that conversation once it is been started, but that success on the field sure helped quiet that noise around him.
Finley threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns on the night and was 17-for-21. He didn’t hide behind his line either, he scored twice on the ground, everything he did last night proved why he’s the starter a week after his struggles against UTSA.
In the air, Finley found seven of the nine Bobcats who recorded receptions. Junior Ashtyn Hawkins, UIW transfer Kole Wilson and Cincinnati transfer Drew Donley all found the endzone off of a Finley feed.
It was such a dominant performance for Finley that three other quarterbacks Malik Hornsby, PJ Hatter and CJ Rogers made appearances in the back half of the contest as the team shut the door on the Tigers.
Bobcats can run the dang ball: Aside from Finley on the ground, Texas State turned a corner in their run game overall. They were a yard short of 400 for the night amongst six rushers including Finley and Hornsby.
Hornsby had two scores on the ground of his own and 133 yards and Hatter had another that was eventually called back with less than two minutes on the clock. It seemed like no matter who had the rock in their hands, they were finding open lanes.
UCF transfer Damarius Good led all running backs with 105 yards on the night. Houston Christian Transfer Ismail Mahdi had a 56-yard breakaway touchdown to start the game. Kilgore College Transfer Donerio Davenport had a nine-yard touchdown run. And Red-shirt senior runningback Jahmyl Jeter capped off the on-the-ground efforts with two scores of his own.
In their week two loss, that same group was held to just 31 yards by the American Conference favorite and rivals: The UTSA Roadrunners.
Pair that with the 285 yards the Bobcats put up in the air and it made for a special night. Everything click and everything worked, which is what you want to see in a favorable non-conference matchup.
When they weren’t winning, they were building: The investment in the athletics infrastructure Texas State has made is real. Rest assured, there are always more toys that can be bought. Looking at the college athletics arms race happening across the country, the last thing any fanbase wants to do is out-kick their coverage.
Right now, the shoes still fits with 24,118 making it out to the home opener marking the ninth-largest crowd the Bobacts have played in front of in program history. Under construction in the South endzone, the Johnny and Nathali Weisman Football Performance Center served as the backdrop for most of the game.
While some universities are scrambling to either buy land or build facilities for emerging FBS programs. Texas State currently has a stadium and surrounding environment to continuously fit the needs of its student body and fanbase as Kinne and company look to light up game days throughout the season.
The Texas State Board of Regents also approved a search firm to look for a corporate naming rights sponsor for Bobcat Stadium, so keep expecting changes in the near future.
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